Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe late Friday, hours before the former assistant director of the FBI was to retire.
Sessions said in a statement that McCabe was let go for “lacking candor under oath” in misleading investigators about the fact that he authorized a conversation between FBI employees and The Wall Street Journal.
While some are pointing to a vindictive strike at McCabe from President Donald Trump – McCabe took James Comey’s side following Comey’s firing last year – others say McCabe was forthcoming with information requested of him by the FBI’s inspector general.
Here is what we know about McCabe’s firing.
What Sessions said:
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The Justice Department released this statement from Sessions about McCabe’s firing:
“After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
“The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe. Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions.
“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability. As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand.’
“Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”
McCabe issued this statement after he was fired.
“I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.
“For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President's tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.
“The investigation by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI's involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.
“The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.
“But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.
“Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey's accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG's focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday's comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.
“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration's ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel's work.
“I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.
“I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.”
What the inspector general said:
The report from the inspector general has not been released. However, according to a story from The New York Times, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that McCabe had encouraged FBI officials to speak with reporters from the Wall Street Journal about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
An associate of McCabe’s told reporters from the Journal that McCabe did not try to impede an investigation into the Clinton Family charity, the Times reported.
After the investigation, Horowitz recommended to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the department that investigates allegations of bureau employee misconduct, that McCabe be fired because he was not forthcoming with the IG’s investigation.
The report from Horowitz is expected to be released in April.
What Trump said:
Trump tweeted that it was a “great day for Democracy” on Friday
About McCabe’s firing:
And this one (Terry M is Terry McAuliffe):
About McCabe saying he took notes at a meeting he had:
About McCabe’s wife:
What does his wife have to do with it?
McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, received $467,500 from a political action committee controlled by then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe when she ran for U.S. senator for Virginia. She received an additional $207,799 from the Virginia Democratic Party.
McAuliffe ran Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and was national chairman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for president.
In a tweet, the president said McCabe ran the investigation into emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state while McCabe’s wife received the donation from the McAuliffe-run PAC.
McCabe was not in charge of the investigation into Clinton’s emails before FBI Director Comey closed it in 2016.
When an investigation into McAuliffe’s finances arose in 2016, McCabe recused himself from it.
What about his pension?
It has been reported that McCabe lost his pension when he was fired on Friday. That is not exactly the case.
McCabe was fired about 26 hours before he was to set to retire from the FBI. After 21 years of service in the Bureau, McCabe would have been eligible for early retirement at age 50.
What McCabe lost out on when he was fired was the ability to take his full benefits at age 50. He also lost his eligibility for a “top-up,” or “enhanced” benefit formula.
Federal rules state that employees in McCabe’s situation may not be able to draw pension until a date ranging from just before his 57th birthday to as late as his 62nd birthday.
That means he can still collect a pension in a few years, albeit a smaller amount than the $60,000 a year he was set to get.
McCabe can appeal his firing in the hopes of getting his pension reinstated.
What others said:
From former FBI Director James Comey:
From Former CIA Director John Brennan:
From U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-S.C):
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday:
“You know, his firing may be justified. There's no way for us to know at this point, but even though it may have been justified, it can also be tainted. And I think the president's badgering of the attorney general, his urging that he be fired before his pension could vest, and the fact that McCabe and every other of the James Comey associates … who corroborate James Comey on the issue of potential obstruction of justice, every one of them has been targeted by the administration, by the Republicans and Congress. And is this because they corroborate James Comey? That's a question we also have to answer.”